The month of September has been a bit of a strange one for Asian boxing. We have had a lot of activity, but we've seen it in bursts, with this past weekend being one of those bursts. The big names, for the most part, weren't in action and a lot of what we did get was Rookie of the Year in Japan and low level tick over bouts in Thailand, with novices looking to kick off their careers in Kazakhstan and more low level stuff in China. As a result a lot of our awards this month are heading to relative unknowns.
Fighter of the Month
John Riel Casimero
The Fight of the Month was one of the easiest awards for the month, with WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero being the stand out fighter for the month. He was the only Asian world champion to defend a world title during the month, and he did so in spectacular fashion, battering Duke Micah in 3 rounds. Casimero has continued to build on the win by calling out Naoya Inoue pretty much continually since the bout, and has certainly made fans sit up, take note, listen and remember his name.
Fight of the Month
Tsubasa Narai Vs Tomohiro Igarashi
We had some real fun fights this past month, though the most fun was the thrilling shout out between Tsubasa Narai and Tomohiro Igarashi. This wasn't the most violent bout, but was the most dramatic, most exciting a thrilling back and forth war. Both men showed solid skills, both men were dropped and both men had the bout going against them at some point. The bout was action packed through out and ended in spectacular fashion. A real must watch
Koichi Aso Vs Shogo Yamaguchi
John Riel Casimero Vs Duke Micah
Arman Rysbek vs Mikhail Dauhaliavets
KO of the Month
Aito Abe TKO1 Kentaro Omori
We didn't get too many brutal KO's in September but the one that left the biggest impression on us came in the East Japan Rookie of the Year qualifying bout between Aito Abe and Kentaro Omori. The entire bout didn't last long and ended in spectacular fashion, with Abe landed a dynamite right hand that sent Omori crashing to the canvas. A single, huge, right hand. Absolutely brutal shot and one that fans, with Boxing Raise, should go and check out...now!
Prospect of the Month
Rentaro Kimura (2-0, 2)
There was some very impressive performances by prospects in September, though none were as impressive as Rentaro Kimura's performance. His opponent wasn't the most testing, or skilled, but that didn't prevent Kimura from genuinely impressing. The Japanese "Super Prospect" showed sensation shot selection, an amazing use of angles, and not only show cased his offense against an over matched opponent but also his defense in a performance that was incredibly impressive. This was the type of performance that should make people sit and take notice and we suspect we'll see a lot of fans getting behind Kimura very, very quickly following a showing like he had here.
Upset of the Month
Pungluang Sor Singyu KO7 Campee Phayom
After losing the WBO Bantamweight title in 2016 Pungluang Sor Singyu struggled to get his career back on track, losing 4 of his following 5 bouts. Surprisingly however he managed to get his career back in track in early September when he scored a come from behind stoppage win over Campee Phayom. Pungluang wasn't expected to pick up the win here, he was expected to be too old, too small, too shot, but managed to use his experience to grind down Campee and take the KO victory over the much younger man. Thanks to this win, Pungluang's second win in 4 and a half years, the Thai veteran has given his career a major shot in the arm.
Round of the Month
Arman Rysbek vs Mikhail Dauhaliavets (Rd3)
We love rounds where fighters trade shots, and set a high tempo. We had a lot of these this month. Rounds of action up close and personal are typically our favourite rounds and there was was a lot of those. In terms of quality there were very few that matched the incredible quality of the 3rd round between Arman Rysbek and Mikhail Dauhaliavets. This was high quality boxing, at close range, at a high pace, with clean shots landed by both. If fans missed this fight we suggest you give it a watch, especially round 3. Genuinely fantastic.
John Riel Casimero Vs Duke Micah (Rd1)
Ryo Yoshida Vs Ricky Hasegawa (Rd 1)
After missing much of this year in regards to Weekly Awards we now return to this series as we celebrate the best of the last week! If we're being honest it's been a good week, and we really have had a bit of everything in a week that has been really interesting, without having anything massive happen in the world of Asian boxing.
Fighter of the Week
One thing we like to see is a fighter answering new questions, proving something about themselves and showing there is more to them than we had previously assumed. One fighter who did that this week was our Fighter of the Week Shuichiro Yoshino. The talented triple crown winner defended his three titles with a polished, mature and effective performance against Valentine Hosokawa. For the first time in years Yoshino was up against a man he couldn't hurt, and instead of getting stuck in a war he boxed, he thought about what he was doing and showed a real maturity to his boxing. Not only that but he also went 12 rounds for the first time, getting really valuable in ring experience. This was as a good a learning experience as Yoshino could have wanted and it was exactly what he needed.
Performance of the Week
We had a lot of short, impressive performances in Japan this week, including that of Jin Sasaki and Aito Abe though we don't think any were quite as impressive a the 19 second blow out win for Yasutaka Fujita, against Kensuke Nakamura. Coming in to this we had actually about how Fujia would look, given his last outing saw him lose in the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year final against Kodai Honda. We needn't have feared as he became only the third man to stop Nakamura, and did it with what was essentially the first meaningful punch of the bout. The finish came from a cracking left hook that dropped Nakamura who got to his feet and stumbled around. This is how you bounce back from your first loss and against a usually durable domestic foe.
Fight of the Week
Shoki Sakai vs Hironori Shigeta
There was bigger fights, and there fights with more drama, but there was few fights that had us as excited as the 8 round brawl between Shoki Sakai and Hironori Shigeta, who gave us an exhibition in inside fighting . Sakai, a veteran of over 35 fights, was making his Japanese debut and had to prove as he took on Shigeta, a former Rookie of the Year winner. The mentalities of the two men proved vital to the action as both men showed a willingness to exchange up close and give us some great intense action. The bout was pretty competitive, though it was very much a "clear but competitive" win for Sakai, and a real fun one. It won't be in the running for Fight of the Year, but is well worthy of a watch if, or when, you get the chance.
Round of the Week
Ryugo Ushijima vs Ryukyu Oho (RD1)
We had some great rounds across the shows in Asia, with several rounds of the Shoki Sakai Vs Hironori Shigesta fight being sensational, but the best round, for us, was the action packed and dramatic opening round of Ryugo Ushijima's bout with Ryukyu Oho. The round saw both men being dropped and some wild exchanges. From the off Oho wanted to press and Ushijima was dragged into a fire fight that saw both men taking some solid punishment. If you missed this one it's well worthy of a watch, and it a fantastic example of what happens when match making goes right! The bout did peak early, sadly, but that peak was always going to be hard to match.
KO of the Week
Aito Abe KO1 Kentaro Omori
Not for the first time recently we managed to get a sensational KO on an relatively obscure show as 19 year old Aito Abe crushed Kentaro Omori in just 17 seconds of their Rookie of the Year bout. Abe came out like a man with a point to prove and Omori with stood the assault for a few seconds, before a huge right hand on the temple ended the show. This was short, this was sharp and it was brutal. For those with boxing raise this is well and truly worth a watch and Abe certainly appears to be someone we can expect a lot more KO's from as time goes on.
Prospect of the Week
We saw a lot of prospects in action this past week, but for us the one that impressed the most was Jin Sasaki, who showed exactly why those in Japan are so excited about him and his potential. He came out looking like a star in the making, blitzed Shun Akaiwa in 45 seconds, and made people sit up and take note. We knew he was good, he had impressed us earlier in his career, but we didn't know he was this good. Aged just 19 he is certainly one to keep an eye on for the future, and showed some incredible power, speed and aggression here.
Upset of the Week
Pungluang Sor Singyu KO7 Campee Phayom
In one of the final bouts of the week we saw former 2-time WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu score only his second win in 4 years! The veteran did it by stopping Campee Phayom, and claimed the WBA Asia Super Featherweight title as his reward. The bout was a pretty competitive one at times, though the experience and toughness of Pungluang began to show through as we moved into the middle rounds and he began to grind down the 22 year year old fringe contender. The pressure of Pungluang broke through in round 7 when he took out Campee in style and scored the shock win. Whilst looking on paper this may not be a massive shock the fact Pungluang was 1-5 in his previous 6 and was fighting well above his best weight, makes this a genuine surprise result. As well as being a surprise it's a huge set back for Campee
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces